Prince Harry avoids ‘awkward’ Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton meeting by refusing BFF’s wedding invite

Prince Harry declined to attend his posh pal the Duke of Westminster’s wedding to avoid an awkward clash with his brother Prince William and other family members amid their boiling family feud, Page Six can reveal.

He got a “Save the Date” card to the wedding next summer — but then called the Duke, Hugh Grosvenor, personally to say it would be best if he and his wife, Meghan Markle, didn’t come.

It would have been the first meeting between Markle and Kate Middleton since the funeral of Queen Elizabeth in September 2022.

His decision was made well before new tensions with his brother caused by the publication of controversial author Omid Scobie’s “Endgame” last week, which launched new salvoes against William and his wife Kate Middleton, including naming her in a Dutch translation as one of the alleged “royal racists.”

Harry and Markle have kept silent over the book and the mounting storm over it.

Both Harry, 39, and his older brother Prince William, 41, are BFFs with Hugh Grosvenor, who is godfather to both their sons, Prince George and Prince Archie.

Prince Harry and Prince William apparently scowling at each other
Prince Harry turned down an invitation to one of his best friend’s weddings to avoid a public clash with Prince William — and the possibility of their two wives encountering each other. Harry had been said not to have been invited to Hugh Grosvenor’s wedding but Page Six is told he was invited and turned it down. AP
Meghan Markle in white behind Kate Middleton in red
Prince Harry’s decision to skip the wedding means that his wife Meghan Markle and sister-in-law Kate Middleton, seen together in March 2019, will not encounter each other in summer 2024. Getty Images
Prince Harry with friends, children and other adults posing behind a baby rhino
Prince Harry and Hugh Grosvenor, the 7th Duke of Westminster (third from right, rear) have been longtime best friends. But the royal told the duke he would not attend his upcoming wedding to avoid a clash with Prince William. PHOTO: CHARMAIN SWARTS/KHULULA CARE FOR WILD/AFRICAN CONSERVATION EXPERIENCE
Prince William in a suit with medals seated between a soldier in black ceremonial uniform and in a row of people which includes then British prime minister Theresa may and Hugh Grosvenor.
Grosvenor (third from left) is also a close friend of Prince William. The future king is reported to be in the running to be his best man when he marries in the summer. PA Images via Getty Images

However, a storm erupted when the Sunday Times claimed that Grosvenor chose future King William over Harry to attend his wedding to Olivia Henson next summer to avoid a clash among the warring brothers.

But a source told us: “Harry actually got a ‘save the date’ card a few months ago but called Hugh and said it would be too awkward if he and Meghan Markle attended, so he made his apologies and Hugh understood.”

The wedding will be the society occasion of the year when Grosvenor, 32, one of the richest men and most prominent landowners in Britain, marries Henson, 30, at Chester Cathedral on June 7.

Hugh Grosvenor and Olivia Henson in front of greenery and flowers
Grosvenor is engaged to Olivia Henson. Their wedding at Chester Cathedral in north-west England will be the social event of the year; he is one of Britain’s wealthiest men and largest landowners. Grosvenor2023/PA
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
The Montecito royals’ rift with their family has only deepened with the publication of author Omid Scobie’s controversial “Endgame,” but Harry decided to avoid a public clash with his brother at the wedding some months ago. AP

King Charles and Queen Camilla are also due to attend, alongside Kate Middleton. The king was a longtime friend of Grosvenor’s father, Gerald, the previous Duke of Westminster, who died in 2016.

The Times also claimed that William is in the running to be Grosvenor’s best man.

Grosvenor’s royal ties are deep. He is a godson of Charles, 75, and his mother is a godmother to Prince William.

Prince (now King) Charles holding an umbrella with the previous Duke of Westminster, also holding an umbrella.
The Grosvenor family are longstanding royal friends. Harry’s father, King Charles, was close to Gerald Grosvenor, the previous duke of Westminster and Hugh’s father. He died in 2016. Getty Images
Hugh Grosvenor, Charlie van Straubenzee and Arthur Landon in morning dress
Grosvenor was one of the friends of Prince Harry who arrived for his wedding to Meghan Markle along with Charlie van Straubenzee and Arthur Landon. All three are also close friends of Prince William. Getty Images

He inherited his title and control of the Grosvenor Estate, then worth an estimated $11.3 billion (£9 billion), from his father in 2016. As such, Grosvenor is one of the wealthiest men in Britain.

This year, Bloomberg estimated that he has a net worth of approximately $11.9 billion (£9.42 billion).

The Daily Mail reported that Grosvenor was previously “very conscious” of the tensions surrounding the wedding of his sister Lady Tamara Grosvenor and Edward van Cutsem at Chester Cathedral in 2004 — where both William and Harry were ushers — and did not want anything similar at his own.

Queen Camilla, then Camilla Parker Bowles and King Charles’ girlfriend, was invited to the nuptials, but was told that she would not be permitted to sit with Prince Charles and would have to sit several rows back.

Hugh van Cutsem, Prince Harry and Prince William
In 2004, Princes William and Harry were ushers at Hugh Grosvenor sister lady Tamara’s wedding to Edward van Cutsem. The van Cutsem family are longtime family friends of the royals. Getty Images
Prince William with hair in front of a young Hugh Grosvenor
Hugh Grosvenor (left) was aware of tensions at his sister’s wedding in 2004 because the then Camilla Parker-Bowles was attending but had to be kept from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip because she was Charles’ girlfriend. Getty Images

She would also have to arrive separately. This was because Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were due to attend the ceremony.

A friend of the family told the Mail: “Hugh knows how sensitive wedding invitations can be.”

William is believed to be furious at the hurtful claims made by Harry in his bombshell memoir “Spare” back in January.

And and the family rift has been opened yet wider over the past few weeks amid the leaking of the names of King Charles and William’s wife, Kate, as the alleged royals who asked what skin color Prince Archie would have before his birth.

Page Six has reached out to the Duke of Westminster for comment and reps for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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